Thursday, May 29, 2014
Kickstart My Heart: Reading Rainbow
If you were ever familiar with Reading Rainbow as a child, I'm sure you heard about LeVar Burton's Kickstarter campaign to bring back the popular public access show in the form of an expanded App and online classroom. Running from 1983 to 2009, RR was a part of many a child's path to reading and education with it's field trips, creative projects and book readings. In 2009, Reading Rainbow was canceled when PBS and the production company thought it was no longer viable. Burton obtained the rights to the show and launched a tablet application to bring the magic of RR into the new, digital age. Cut to today and the campaign has already raised nearly $2 million dollars of it's $1 million goal with 34 days left to go. The end goal is to expand the RR website, build online classrooms and deliver content to schools around the country. There are plenty of detractors to the campaign, some saying it's just supporting a for profit company and others using it as an example to highlight how dammaged the education system is that it takes celebrity and nostalgia to shine a light on the fact that today, allegedly 1 in 4 children will grow up illiterate. Donations start at $5 and go all the way to $10,000 with prizes including a special thanks on the website to the chance to have a personal dinner with Burton and wear his goggles from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I watched Reading Rainbow regularly as a kid and it helped me become a leisure reader instead of viewing it as a chore. It also helped form my inner food lover because the two episodes I remember most are Burton's trip to a cheese factory showing how it's made and then the time he made a pizza at home but it was too big to fit into his oven...
More nostalgia mixed with harsh language: